The term “cloud” has been bandied about the IT and hosting industries for the past few years, and has meant about as many things as there are providers and development firms who've used it. It's been used to refer to SaaS products, to “hardware sharing” services like Amazon's cloud, and to network storage such as iCloud and the PlayStation Network cloud. So just what is A Small Orange's business class hosting, and how does it benefit our customers? A Small Orange's business hosting platform is, at its core, a shared web hosting platform. From the end-user perspective, the vast majority of the functionality is just like a shared web hosting account on any of our other shared web hosting servers. The user is presented with a cPanel interface, and with FTP, and (upon request) SSH and SFTP access. The difference is that the cloud servers don't run on normal physical hardware the way that our other shared web hosting servers do: they run on a cluster of many physical hardware nodes, and can “hot migrate” between them – that is, if one of those hardware nodes fails, the servers currently running on it can seamlessly migrate to another of the servers in the cluster. A physical server can go completely offline, and you, the customer, see no downtime, because the cloud server your content was being served from hot migrated to another physical server in the cluster before anyone noticed that there was a problem. The cloud hosting platform is exceedingly resilient to hardware failures on any of the physical nodes, unlike traditional web hosting where a hardware failure of that sort would result in an outage for your website – and a loss of visitors, customers, and possibly search engine rankings. Despite this, it's not perfect: network outages can still cause problems, just like with a standard web hosting server. It's just better. The differences that set our business class hosting apart from other shared web hosting offerings don't stop there, though. The business class servers have a lower user accounts to hardware power ratio than standard shared web hosting and are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) compliant. PCI-DSS compliance (also sometimes simply referred to as “PCI compliance”) means you can safely accept credit card transactions via your secured website hosted on them. To further enable you to build secure e-commerce sites, we provide SSL for your site (a $49/year value) as a standard part of our business class web hosting packages. These plans also include the same great support you've come to expect from A Small Orange, which we believe is our biggest selling point. We think this makes our business class web hosting plans a great choice for online businesses and e-tailers who rely on customer trust. Learn more about our business hosting plans here. Looking for hosting? Remember, we’re offering 30% off the first month for most of our hosting plans!